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Rebels with a cause: How to keep a big tent while staying on message

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Rebels with a cause How to keep a big tent while staying on message

The last presidential election’s recriminations require no reminders… primarily because they have lasted through the entire 2017, and are not yet finished.  The battle between NeverTrumpers, AlwaysTrumpers, SometimesTrumpers (which is, basically, everyone else) continues to generate dozens of articles and endless flame wars. Now, fighting over philosophical differences may seem like a tremendous, YUGE waste of time. However, all involved seem to be more committed to proving themselves right than to unifying the party or the conservative moment around any consistent set of principles that would help avoid factionalism now and in the future. NeverTrumpers claim that President Trump’s personality, character, and various actions before and after elections make him completely unacceptable in their view, and the worst of his supporters have taken over and ruined the party.

AlwaysTrumpers claim “my party, right or wrong”, and give, as a counterexample, the left, which is even more committed to destroying its common enemy than to eating each other, and somehow always stays on the party line message, which keeps them winning ideological influence, and often, elections as well. SometimesTrumpers believe in supporting the president when he does something they agree with, and critiquing when he doesn’t, without essentially losing their minds. There are varying degrees of intensity to each of these groups. However, many NTs, as well as ATs, cannot seem to live with the idea that there may be a very significant group of Republicans and conservatives who are not fully committed to a position more based in supporting a particular personality against the attacks by the left than in holding consistent political positions based in their understanding of what is good for the country.

STs, by and large, are viewed as unprincipled for being, apparently, neither here nor there. Understanding each of these positions is important, because as of this moment, everyone seems to be firmly rooted in his own view, with no possibility of budging anywhere.  Now, some ATs are coming out with claims that all NTs are really Democrats, and should be defriended, isolated, and ignored. NTs, on the other side, deride anyone who doesn’t spend all day criticizing Trump or who has publicly agreed with him on anything, as a weak Trump enabler. Some of the more “liberal” NTs will tolerate the STs, but still try to have them move to the NTs sides with vociferous criticism of Trumpian excesses. Ironically, all this time, actual hardcore progressive ideologues are laughing like hyenas as the party and assorted shades of conservatives are tearing each other up, over what is more a matter of ego than any real principles on anyone’s account.

Meanwhile, the Republican party is shrinking, conservatism is not growing, and not much is getting done.

So how to resolve this seemingly impossible dilemma: to be welcoming to diversity of views, while also developing a coherent and consistent message that can move the party mostly in the same direction… no matter who is at the helm?

Now, this is where conservatism and Republican party may hold entirely different answers.

Republican party is a political vehicle, currently best suited for conservatism to win elections. It is not, however, in itself an expression of conservatism or conservative values, and for that reason, there will always be an inherent battle of ideas within the party. The President is the party leader. It should ultimately be up to him to define the message of the party, as well as its direction.  What if the president is not conservative? Well, then, it is likely that the party will likely not be expressing conservative values either, unless, of course, a cadre of particularly active conservatives manage to convince the president otherwise. But that always works both ways. President Reagan was not always surrounded by stalwart conservatives, and yet the Reagan Revolution still remains a standard for a successful wave of conservatism, that swept the country.  President George W. Bush by all accounts was more conservative than most of his advisers, who eventually ended up prevailing on a number of important decisions, much to the disillusionment of many hardcore conservatives.

The party, at the end of the day is what the people most active within it, make it to be. It is not particularly productive, then, to think about the direction of the party as a whole, particularly when the president is not particularly ideological. Under such circumstances, it’s worth focusing on winning individual battles and taking it one day at a time. Focus on prevailing in particular instances win minimize the likelihood of creating more internal enemies than is absolutely necessary.  Both NeverTrumpers and AlwaysTrumpers should remember that the president, after his time in office, will cede his way to future, and yet unknown candidate, which means that we pretty much have to start all over again.

And it’s much easier to win those elections with a bigger party and a bigger tent than a smaller tent. It may FEEL better to cut loose all the haters and the losers, as well as all the suckers, the traitors, the RINOs, the fauxservatives, the alt-righters, and the sell-outs… except in 3 or 7 years, we’ll all need each other to fight another battle.  So why alienate and freeze out potential voters, who may yet change their minds on any number of issues for any number of reasons? We may not think we ever want to ever hear from these people again, much less use them for anything, but life is long, and that is something that is impossible to know from the current vantage point. So first things first: don’t destroy friendships over politics. Best unfollow the posts on social media until you can get a grip, and then rekindle those relationships when you inevitably realize that if there is anything more important than whom your former voted for in the last election is whom he is going to vote for in the next.

But what if what if those RINOs/alt righters are playing right into the hands of the left-wing enemy? Trust me, there is no one playing into the hands of the left more than you do if you cut them off completely. Human beings have free will, which means changing their minds, and being wrong, frequently and hopelessly. Unless you think that the apparatus of the authoritarian one-party systems served them well, all you can do is be persuasive and offer them something more within the party than outside of it – the ability be active and to persuade. Essentially, while the song “Stuck in the middle with you…:” may seem particularly ironic, the reality is that the only way to win is by finding a way for your ideas to prevail. You can’t force or scare people into compliance without either the party deteriorating into cultish groupthink that prevents fresh ideas and creative solution to political and ideological problems, eventually killing it before any progressive forces ever get to it, or without causing resentment, rebellions, and endless frictions. We see both right now.

As for conservatives are concerned, the beautiful thing is that not one person needs any apparatchiks to define the “message” for him. The message comes from the deeply held values, and the better we are equipped we are to understand and defend them, the more likely our ideas are to prevail and to help define that message. If most people call themselves conservatives, but are not even familiar with the basics, there will always be no shortage of con artists ready to hijack the messaging platforms and to stiff the entire movement with something grotesque and unpalatable.  Last year’s election clearly demonstrates that conservatism needs a revival in more than just numbers. There are two distinct issues that need discussion, understanding, and refinement:

The first: what is the state of conservatism as an attitude and a philosophy right now? It is only once we determine what themes are most prevalent that we can properly measure success, quantify and qualify it.

The second: what should it be? What principles can we draw from the great classics encompassing the bedrocks of the founding philosophy and how can we properly translate it into modernity, while avoiding past missteps?

Whatever our educational and outreach efforts, we should seek to expose our audiences to a broad array of thinking and determine where they stand for themselves. Abstract values and elections overlap but ultimately the goal of a value system is to provide guidance for selecting people who are most likely to defend those values, as well as to promote priority issues. Ultimately, conservatism, and any other paradigm, serve a greater purpose than merely a lodestar for dealing with imperfect human beings under pressure to gather as many votes as possible in high pressure environment where all sorts of other factors that have nothing to do with policy or philosophy come into play.

Ultimately, winning elections has to do with many factors – including campaign organization, identifying the audiences and reaching them in a compelling way, and having the flexibility and creativity to both plan and be spontaneous with overcoming obstacles when little is under control. Having the Greek chorus of supporters staying on message is but one of those factors. The left has not always been the most organized. And the wave of Republican frustration with the status quo swapped away all resistance in 2016, not just in the complicated and unpredictable presidential campaign but in both houses of Congress.  And yet, progressive values translate through institutionalized learning and control of the agencies through career officials at least, as much if not more than through political victories and legislative advances. There is no quick legislative or executive fix to institutions of higher learning, Hollywood, most mainstream publications and channels, tech giants, professional associations, unions, artistic scenes, innumerable non-profits, and other gatherings with wide reach and ability to influence hearts and minds.

The old stereotype that conservatives all tend to end up in business making money is only partially true. There is no shortage of highly erudite and cultured conservatives of all ages and background. And commitment to culture needs not be full time. Yet, what is ultimately funding of such opportunities is lacking. Gulf States and progressive billionaires endow chairs of universities with gifts that translate into particular type of curriculum, faculty, and even the backgrounds of students who end up being attracted to these fora. There is no shortage of conservative-leaning donors, yet their money goes at best towards think tanks and isolated conservative colleges, as well as equally independent publications. They are not buying stakes in mainstream media empires; endowing universities, or sponsoring production studios, with Clint Eastwood, a well established figure in Hollywood being one of the few noteworthy exception. Separating themselves into conservative spaces may be a good way to stay on message, but not a good away to go on offensive or to promote that message.

Also, staying on message becomes of increasingly limited value if the number of people sharing that message is decreasing over time. If conservatives want to see how well their message survives in the world outside the bubble, they need to first, engage with people who think differently from increasingly minute ideological confines, and second, engage in intellectual contact with the adversary, rather than flee the battlefield at first sign of danger or real challenge. The progressives have not won anything by being shy, deferential, wallflowers. Their strength is not in beating down anyone who even remotely disagrees with the party’s appointed messenger – in fact, that’s what cost them the presidential election in 2016. Rather, it is in promoting and supporting their own. They identify, cultivate, and place young talent by the hundreds. By contrast, conservatives cultivate political activists, but not necessarily pundits, opinionmakers, and ideological influencers. Those are left to their own devices – if someone manages to make it and create his own organization, they are indeed lauded and feted. But who do these young conservative organizations target? Other conservatives. How much effort is spent on questioning progressives, at least those who are open to seeds of doubts, and to the independents? As a result, conservatives seem to always be strengthening their base, but not really growing. Whether it is the Republicans scaring off potential supporters, or idealogues unable or unwilling to make contact with anyone outside the choir, the outcome is the same:

There is no one to stay on message.

Time to rethink our strategy, move away from bickering over differences whether in candidates or approaches, let people be with their opinions and disagreements, and do what the left has indeed has always done best:

Think long-term.

Irina Tsukerman is a human rights and national security lawyer, based in New York. I can send something longer, but then it would go into all the other things I've been involved in and might be too long!

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Culture and Religion

In UK, Ancient Heathenism Reigns Supreme

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Several minutes had passed since the medical examination of the newborn had begun. They stood inspective over the infant, occasionally murmuring to one another in a hushed tone.  The babe’s father stood nearby, pacing: his eyes intractably fixed on the small group of elders in a desperate attempt to interpret each subtle lift of an eyebrow or pinch of the lips.

Then came that dreaded nod…

The tormented father wept as the judge read the decision aloud: “as thinking it neither good for the child itself…” the child must die.

The above description is not a reference to the United Kingdom’s government-ordered killing of little Alfie Evans, nor the United Kingdom’s government-ordered killing of little Charlie Gard.

The infant’s death-order, described above, was merely the price of societal perfection for his father, living in the Statist abyss of Ancient Sparta.

In Lives: Lycurgus 16, Greek historian Plutarch (48-122 A.D.) wrote of the medical inspections of infants by “elders,” and of the state-ordered murder of infants in Ancient Sparta under the rule Lycurgus, a tyrannical central-planner:

“Nor was it in the power of the father to dispose of the child as he saw fit (as was his right in most heathen societies). He was obliged to carry (the newborn) child before certain men at a place called Lesche; these men were some of the elders of the tribe to which the child belonged; their business was to carefully view the infant, and, if they found it stout and well made, they gave order for its rearing and allotted to it one of the nine thousand shares of land above mentioned for its maintenance, but, if they found it puny and ill-shaped, ordered it to be taken to what was called the Apothetae (“depository”), a (large cave) under Mt. Taygetus (in the Peloponnese); as thinking it neither for the good of the child itself, nor for the public interest, that it should be brought up, if it did not, from the very outset, appear to be healthy and vigorous.” (emphasis mine)

Undesirable Infants – those either deemed unfit in some way, were conceived through rape, were unwanted, or were female – were often exposed, meaning that these infants were tossed into pits or over cliffs, or were abandoned in the wilderness and then left to starve or to be eaten by wild animals.

Such was life in the pagan purgatories of Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome.

Such has life begun to be again, today, in the United Kingdom.

As I type, a toddler lies in the hospital, a prisoner, detained by the pagan pride of evil monsters, by his own Statist government.

The “elders” in the UK have sentenced little Alfie Evans to die, “as thinking it neither for the good of the child itself. Alfie may not be alone in the wilderness, but he is being exposed by the sword of starvation.

Right now, a tormented father weeps for his child.

The cruel winds of an evil-ridden history are circling ’round again.

 

Once Christianity came upon the scene, Christians began to regularly rescue exposed infants.

As Tertullian stated, “Christians sought out the tiny bodies of newborn babies from the refuse and dung heaps and raised them as their own or tended to them before they died or gave them a decent burial” (Early Church History).

“The Christian idea that each individual person has worth because they were created by God was foreign to the lies of pagan society where the State, the tribe, the collective was the only value they knew” (Early Church History).

One can even visit these once abandoned babes at the Catacomb of Praetextatus. “The catacombs are filled with very tiny graves with the epitaph ‘adopted daughter of…’ or ‘adopted son of…’ inscribed on them. These inscriptions refer to the many babies and young children Christians rescued from the trash over the centuries” (Early Church History).

Unlike during the times of Ancient Rome and Ancient Greece, however, today’s United Kingdom prevents Christians from aiding Britain’s exposed children.

Christians from across the globe have offered aid and open arms to little Alfie Evans. Pope Francis has faithfully attempted to save the ailing child, arranging medical transportation for Alfie so that he might fly via air ambulance to the Vatican’s hospital.

Still, the prideful “elders” cling mercilessly to their pagan heathenism, determined to deny any and all Christian charity for little Alfie.

 

Alas! One thing is now crystal clear: in the United Kingdom, ancient heathenism reigns supreme.

For a glimpse of the future, listen to these famous voices from the past:

In On the Laws 3.8, Cicero (106-43 BC) states:

“Deformed infants shall be killed.”

Posidippus, a Greek poet, wrote:

“Everybody raises a son even if he is poor, but exposes a daughter even if he is rich.”

In On Anger 1.15, Seneca (4 BC-65 AD) wrote:

“…mad dogs we knock on the head…unnatural progeny we destroy; we drown even children at birth who are weakly and abnormal.”

In Politics 7.1335b, Aristotle (364 BC-322 BC) wrote:

“As to exposing or rearing the children born, let there be a law that no deformed child shall be reared;  but on the ground of number of children, if the regular customs hinder any of those born being exposed, there must be a limit fixed to the procreation of offspring, and if any people have a child as a result of intercourse in contravention of these regulations, abortion must be practiced on it (the child).”

In Theaetetus, the Greek philosopher Plato (quoting Socrates) wrote of the important societal task of killing infirm infants:

“For we must take care that we don’t overlook some defect in this thing that is entering into life; it may be something not worth bringing up, a wind-egg, a falsehood. What do you say? Is it your opinion that your child ought in any case to be brought up and not exposed to die? Can you bear to see it found fault with and not get into a rage if your first-born is stolen away from you?”

In Ad Nationes, Tertullian (155-220 A.D.) recorded the frequency of pagan infanticide in the Roman Empire during the late 100’s and early 200’s A.D.:

“…because, although you are forbidden by the laws to slay new-born infants, it so happens that no laws are evaded with more impunity or greater safety, with the deliberate knowledge of the public, and the suffrages of this entire age…But then you make away with them in a more cruel manner, because you expose them to the cold and hunger, and to wild beasts, or else you get rid of them by the slower death of drowning.”

In Book 3 of Instructor, Clement of Alexandria (150-215 A.D.) wrote of Roman women caring more for animals than for children:

“And though maintaining parrots and curlews, they do not receive the orphan child; but they expose children that are born at home, and take up the young of birds, and prefer irrational to rational creatures.”

 

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Culture and Religion

Remember what’s important in life

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We all deserve forgiveness, the benefit of the doubt, and need to be reminded of what really matters from time to time. When you encounter someone who does something rude or mean or bad, avoid labeling them as a rude or bad person. Instead, give them the benefit of the doubt that they were just having a bad day/week/year and they are in a place where they have forgotten about what really matters in this life.

That it’s not about wealth and acquiring stuff. It’s about relationships and how we spend our time together. It’s about lifting each other up.

Have you ever gotten into that rut, where you have been hyper-focused on your job, or your hobby, or self-improvement? You were doing really well! You’ve gotten ahead, acquired a lot of great, new things; you make more money now, and you’ve gotten really good at whatever it is you were working on.

But then… You watch a show, a movie, maybe hear a song or a sermon, or read a story about humanity and how short this life is; About how we treat each other when we are trying to acquire too much… and it’s never enough; it’s never big enough; it never satisfies us.

But when you get that message again from that show… You recognize it, and you wake up. You stand up in the room, and you look around, and you see that all over the room everyone else still has their heads down. And very few are standing with you. But you see it now, and you say to yourself, “Why was I so focused on that? That doesn’t matter! My kids are growing up! My parents are aging, my grandparents dying. And I’ve been missing all of it… For what? For a house that’s 1000 sq. feet bigger? For a car that can drive a little faster?”

We all get sidetracked and stuck on this misleading path. That’s why we need to give each other the benefit of the doubt. Try not to label people as “bad guy” just because they did something once or twice, and recognize that people deserve forgiveness, and just need to be woken up again.

Remind them. Remind me when I forget. Please. It’s about Love. Family. Friends. Relationships.

Sell everything you own if it’s blinding you. Buy experiences instead- Experiences that you can share with one another. Hug. Laugh. Cry. Touch. Share. And remember. Remember what it’s all about.

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Culture and Religion

A Memo to the Liberty Grabbers of the Left from the Pro-Liberty Right.

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By

Hat Tip: Nazis Are Socialists (Meso)

A dose of reality for you Leftists opposing freedom on behalf of the gun owners of America.

Seeing that we gun owners been your rhetorical punching bag for several weeks, there are a few things we would like to point out to you folks opposed to the most essential of Liberties. You’ve spent all manner of airtime talking down to us, dictating what we ‘need’ with regard to our basic human rights. So now it is time for you to listen to a couple of brutal truths in the matter. These aren’t going to be ‘politically correct’, by any means, but such is usually not the case with cold hard reality.

From your ever so self laudatory language, you Liberty grabbers on the Left like to think of yourselves as noble warriors, out there ‘changing the world’ for the ‘Common good’ [Gemeinnutz in the German vernacular]. Fighting for Socialister. Social ‘Justice’ and all manner of flowery folderol [Cue mournful violin music]. Yes, you think of yourselves as ‘sacrificing’ for the ‘the children*’ no matter what that entails. Whether it’s all manner of fame on Youtube or Facebook, to endless praise from your echo chamber, there are no limits as to your willingness to signal your virtue to everyone.
*Unborn children excluded

Well, sorry to break it to you, but in the words of the Marchers: “We call BS!”

The fact is there is nothing more selfish than demanding that others be deprived of their ‘essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety’ for yourselves. You want others to sacrifice their freedom for some mythical gains in your perceived security. It would be one thing for you to give up your Liberty, but that isn’t the case is it? You are marching to demand that the basic human rights of others be stripped from them, that is self-centred in the extreme.

“Those who deny freedom to others, deserve it not for themselves” ― Abraham Lincoln

Empathy is a very important human quality, so perhaps you should consider giving up some of your essential liberties to understand what is at stake for those of us on the Pro-Liberty side of the aisle. Maybe you should demand that you be stripped of your First amendment rights? Or perhaps Liberty Grabbers groups should be licensed before they can demand that others be deprived of their rights?

Oh, what’s that you say? You have a Constitutional right to free-speech or freedom of the press? That those rights ‘Shall not be infringed’? [to coin a phrase] Or that the slightest amount will lead to a slippery slope towards the loss of them all. Welcome to our world, where every time a Leftist lunatic decides to go on a mass murder spree, our Constitutional rights are suddenly on the chopping block. With it just being a question of how much of those rights we’re going to lose – if not everything.

Can we dictate what you ‘need’ in exercising your Rights?

Can we demand that you justify the keeping of your liberties? Can we arbitrarily decree that certain modes of speech are ‘Militaristic’ in style? Do you really ‘need’ to appear on the Tele 30 times a day? Do you really need a ‘high capacity’ smart phone? Do you really need to fire off 5 tweets in a minute just to kill off a basic human right?

Hypocrisy on parade: Liberty Grabbers have guns to protect themselves while denying that right to others.

Please note that the people in the Liberty Grabber movement you idolize are also complete hypocrites in that while they work tirelessly to take away our property and our Liberty, they are safe and secure surrounded by ARMED security. Yes, think about it, the people who rail against guns have no problem being protected by them. Were they to be true to their words, they would disarm their security details. If Citibank and Bank of America didn’t care to be hypocrites they would dismiss their armed security and announce it to the world. Oh, they have to deal with threats? So do the rest of us – and yet they want to make everyone else vulnerable to those threats while they stay safe and secure.

Here’s a hard dose of reality for you: We gun owners protect everyone, even you Liberty Grabbers.

The truth is that while you uselessly virtue signal your inestimable magnanimity, it is those of us on the Pro-liberty side who work to keep you people safe. This may come as a shock, but if you live in one of the states or localities that value Liberty, you are around concealed weapons every time you go out in public. Yes, you might find this to be too scary to think about, but every day you are protected by the deterrence effect of ordinary folks just like you [aside from their cherishing freedom that is] carrying around *Gasp* Firearms hidden from view.

Consequently, you don’t know who might be carrying a gun…. and neither do the criminals. Thus the value of an armed citizenry. They don’t know who may have the means to defend themselves, so they don’t know who to victimize, therefore everyone is protected.

The exception being The “Gun-Free” zone, that vestige of the Utopian fantasy world of the Left. Most mass shootings take place where the innocent are denied their basic human Liberty of self-defence. So what does that mean for you Leftists of the so-called “Party of Science”? It means that your absurd idea that a sign will stop a mass murder results in dead children. That is what you want everywhere, how does that even reach the threshold of rationality?

If you aren’t going to thank us for keeping you safe, could you at least leave us alone?

So why is all of this important? Because the people you have demonisd for weeks are the ones keeping you safe. Those you label as terrorist, splattered in blood are the people providing for your security. How is that for irony?

  • We’re the ones who take the time endure the draconian hurdles put in the way of our basic human rights.
  • We’re the ones who take the time to select the proper firearm and holster to carry concealed out in public.
  • We’re the ones who practice with our weapons in case an emergency arises.
  • We’re the ones who carry a cellphone and extra magazines for that potential emergency.
  • And We’re the ones who will most likely have to deal myriad legal problem and legal fees for merely protecting ourselves, our families and even you people should it be necessary.

Now, we don’t expect you people to grateful for this protection you are afforded. Goodness knows you wouldn’t lower yourself to talk to those of us on the Pro-liberty side. But could you at least acknowledge the effort and perhaps stop obsessing over taking away our Liberty that keeps you safe?

 

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